Easy Steps: How to Clean a Cowhide Rug Properly


Learn how to clean a cowhide rug effectively. Uncover tips for routine care, stain removal, and deep cleaning to keep your rug looking new!

Adding a cowhide rug to your home can instantly elevate the decor of any room. Cowhide rugs are versatile, durable and come in various patterns and colors. However, like any other rug, they, too, require maintenance. If you have invested in a cowhide rug, you must know how to clean it properly to keep it looking its best. In this blog post, I will share tips and tricks on how to clean a cowhide rug.

Table Of Contents:

The Durability and Aesthetic Appeal of Cowhide Rugs

Cowhide rugs are a thing of beauty! They’re made from a cow’s complete hair and skin – talk about authenticity. This gives them an aesthetic edge and ensures they last for years without losing their charm. But that’s just scratching the surface.


Cowhide rugs are generally considered to be durable and long-lasting. Cowhide rugs are made from the natural hide of cows, which is a tough and resilient material. In fact, this robustness allows these beautiful home decor items to stand up against high-traffic areas effortlessly while maintaining their visual appeal over time.

Hypo-Allergenic Properties

Now, you might not know that owning a cowhide rug can be beneficial if you suffer from allergies. These natural beauties don’t harbor allergens like dust mites or pet dander as easily as carpets woven from synthetic fibers, making them ideal for allergy sufferers who want stylish floor coverings but want to avoid potential triggers.

Various Colors and Patterns

Cowhides come in various natural colors and patterns, making them unique and versatile for interior decor. The most common cowhide colors are:

  • Black and White: This classic color combination is popular for cowhide rugs. The contrast between the black and white hair creates a striking and bold look.
  • Brown and White: Brown and white cowhide rugs are also quite popular and have a more rustic and natural appeal.
  • Brindle: Brindle cowhide rugs mix brown, black, and white stripes or patches, creating a beautiful and unique pattern.
  • Tri-color: Tri-color cowhide rugs feature a combination of three colors, such as black, brown, and white, which are usually blended in a natural pattern.
  • Solid Colors: While less common, you can find cowhide rugs in solid colors like gray, tan or exotic colors like metallic gold or silver.
  • Patchwork: Some cowhide rugs are made by piecing together different cowhide patches of various colors and patterns, creating a patchwork effect.
  • Speckled: Speckled cowhide rugs have small spots or specks scattered across the surface, adding a touch of uniqueness to the design.

Cowhide rugs are natural products, and the color and pattern variations depend on the cow’s breed, the animal’s age, and the specific tanning process used. As a result, no two cowhide rugs are exactly alike, making them truly one-of-a-kind pieces for your home decor. When buying a cowhide rug, consider the color and pattern that best complements your interior design style and enhances the overall look of the space.

Key Takeaway: 

Cowhide rugs, boasting authenticity and durability, are a perfect blend of aesthetics and longevity. Their hypo-allergenic properties make them ideal for allergy sufferers, while their tactile appeal adds comfort to style. Remember though – regular maintenance is key to preserving these natural beauties.

How to Clean A Cowhide Rug

You need a routine cleaning regimen to keep your cowhide rug looking as good as new and extend its lifespan. This involves removing dust, dirt, and allergens from the rug fibers using simple yet effective methods like vacuuming or shaking out your rugs.

Vacuuming Your Cowhide Rug

The first step is learning how to vacuum your cowhide rug properly. You might think it’s just about running the vacuum over it – but there’s more to consider here.

Vacuuming a cowhide rug requires some care to avoid damaging the hide while effectively removing dirt and debris. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to vacuum a cowhide rug:

  1. Choose the right vacuum cleaner: Opt for an adjustable suction and a soft brush attachment. High suction or beater bars could damage the delicate cowhide.
  2. Shake or beat the rug: Before vacuuming, take the cowhide rug outside and give it a good shake or gentle beat to loosen any loose dirt or debris. This step will make vacuuming more effective.
  3. Vacuum the front side: Attach the soft brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner and use it to vacuum the front side of the cowhide rug gently. Move the vacuum cleaner toward the hair, making long, slow passes over the rug. Avoid going against the grain, as it may damage the hair.
  4. Vacuum the backside: Flip the cowhide rug over and vacuum the backside. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the underside.
  5. Rotate the rug: To ensure even wear and tear, rotate the cowhide rug regularly, especially in high-traffic areas.
  6. Use a hand vacuum or brush for edges: If your cowhide rug has fringe or edges that are difficult to reach with a regular vacuum cleaner, use a handheld vacuum or a soft brush attachment to clean these areas gently.
  7. Avoid excessive moisture: Cowhide rugs are sensitive to moisture. Do not wet or steam clean the rug, as this could damage the hide or cause it to curl.

cowhide rug in living room home

How to Remove Stains on Your Cowhide Rug

Cowhide rugs have a reputation for being naturally resistant to stains. But hey, accidents happen, and when they do, it’s all about acting fast and smart when it comes to removing stains from cowhide rugs.

Removing Food Stains from Your Cowhide Rug

Dropped food on your rug? No need to fret. Start by gently scraping off the dried matter using something like a butter knife. Remember – gentleness is key here, as you don’t want any harm from those precious rug fibers.

The next step involves some good old-fashioned soap-water mixture (non-alkaline, please) that you can carefully rub over the stain in line with the hair growth direction using a damp sponge or clean cloth. Good Housekeeping suggests blotting up excess moisture post-rinsing is an effective way of removing residual liquid stains.

Eliminating Liquid Stains from Your Cowhide Rug

Liquid spills such as pet urine or red wine are more challenging but manageable if handled promptly. The drill remains pretty much the same – dab soapy water made out of lukewarm water mixed with non-alkaline soap onto affected areas following grain direction while applying liquids onto cowhide rugs. You can also use a specific cowhide rug stain cleaner if needed.

Blot up as much liquid as possible with a paper towel or clean cloth until no shampoo solution residue is left behind and the stain disappears.

Removing Grease Stains On Your Cowhide Rugs

Thanks to its natural degreasing properties, Eucalyptus oil has proven quite handy at tackling grease spots. Apply eucalyptus sparingly directly onto the stained area, then lightly scrape off loosened dirt particles with a hard bristle brush, taking care not to scratch the leather underneath the fur layer. In cases where eucalyptus oil isn’t readily available, white vinegar diluted half-and-half with warm water is an excellent substitute.

Dab and gently rub the solution onto greasy patches, followed by gentle rubbing to help dissolve sticky residues. Always test a small inconspicuous spot before applying new cleaning solutions across larger areas, as the skin reacts differently to various substances.

Finally, rinse thoroughly under cold running tap water, ensuring detergent traces are completely washed away, and then it is best to let your cowhide rug air dry. Do not put it in your dryer!

Deep Cleaning Techniques for Your Cowhide Rug

All right, let’s talk about deep cleaning your cowhide rug. You heard that correctly – sometimes a good old shake and vacuum just won’t cut it.

You see, while regular maintenance is crucial to keep your beloved piece looking fresh and vibrant, there are times when our rugs need more than the usual care. This is where steam cleaning comes into play.

Steam cleaners, my friends, can be an absolute lifesaver in these situations. They use hot water vapor to penetrate the material’s surface and remove embedded dirt particles. But remember this: they should be used sparingly as excessive heat or moisture could potentially harm those natural oils in the hide.

Steam Cleaning Your Cowhide Rug

If a stain persists, you may need to get yourself a quality steam cleaner suitable for use on cowhide rugs (trust me; it’ll make all the difference). These machines turn heated water into steam, which then gets released onto your rug through various attachments designed specifically for different types of surfaces.

Prioritize testing an inconspicuous area before proceeding with full treatment. We don’t want any surprises here – if no adverse reaction occurs during the testing phase, go ahead carefully across the entire surface, ensuring even coverage without oversaturation.

If, after conducting a test patch, you notice discoloration or other signs indicating possible harm caused by heat exposure or too much moisture, immediately stop the process. Instead, consider hiring professional services specializing in these delicate items. Remember, preserving integrity and longevity should always precede temporary aesthetic improvements.

Cautions When Steam Cleaning Cowhide Rugs

Remember that using a steam cleaner on a cowhide rug poses risks, and professional cleaning services specializing in cowhide rugs might be a safer and more suitable option if you need a thorough cleaning. Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and use caution when cleaning cowhide rugs to preserve their beauty and longevity.

A few things worth mentioning about this technique include avoiding direct contact between the nozzle head and the hide itself because high temperatures might cause burns resulting in irreversible damage. Also, remember never to leave the machine running unattended, especially if children or pets are around, due to safety concerns associated with equipment operation.

Lastly, refrain from adding chemical-based detergent solutions unless absolutely necessary, as they might alter the texture, color patterns, and original design, leading to premature wear and tear over time.

cowhide rug in living room home

Care Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Cowhide Rugs

A few golden rules exist for maintaining your cowhide rug beyond a standard cleaning. Let me walk you through them:

No Washing Machines Allowed.

I know how tempting it might be just to toss that dirty rug into a washing machine, but hold off. Such harsh cycles could damage its texture and coloration severely. Rather than taking this risk, stick with our previously discussed hand-cleaning techniques like gently brushing or blotting – they’re far safer options for preserving your mid-century modern masterpiece.

Air Dry After Wet Cleaning Process

Once wet cleaned, whether from stain removals or deep cleanses, always air dry. Lay flat outdoors under shade or indoors at room temperature until completely dry. This ensures no moisture gets trapped within fibers, possibly leading to mold growth if not properly addressed.

Address Those Curling Corners Promptly

Last but not least, don’t ignore curling corners. These tend to occur due to foot traffic and general wear-and-tear, affecting aesthetics and posing tripping hazards around home spaces.

To tackle this issue, use heavy objects such as books to regain it’s original shape temporarily. Alternatively, try rolling up the rug overnight towards the underside.

Remember: Proper maintenance goes a long way in preserving the beauty and durability of your mid-century modern treasure – the cowhide rug. By following these care tips consistently, you can ensure it adds charm and elegance to your space for many years.

FAQs about Cleaning a Cowhide Rug

What is the best way to clean a cowhide rug?

The ideal cleaning method for a cowhide rug involves regular vacuuming, shaking, or brushing. For stains, use water or non-alkaline soap and blot gently.

What kind of soap do you use on a cowhide rug?

A mild or non-alkaline soap without harsh chemicals is recommended for cleaning stains from your cowhide rug. It’s a gentle, mild soap that will not damage the fibers while effectively removing dirt and stubborn stains. Be careful when using a damp cloth (or clean sponge), and squeeze out any excess water before dabbing the rug. When cleaning a stain it is best to dab and lightly wipe in the direction of the hair.

Can I wash a cowhide rug with a water hose?

No, washing your cowhide rug with a water hose can lead to shrinkage and hardening of the hide. Instead, opt for spot-cleaning methods using minimal moisture.

Can I wash my cowhide rug in the washing machine?

Avoid washing your cowhide rugs in machines, as they can cause severe damage, including shrinking and curling edges. Stick to manual cleaning techniques like vacuuming or spot-cleaning instead.


Cowhide rugs are more than just beautiful decor pieces; they’re durable and hypo-allergenic too.

However, keeping it clean and well-maintained is essential to make it last for years. Vacuum regularly, spot clean spills immediately, deep clean once a year, avoid direct sunlight, and brush it regularly. Following these tips and tricks will help you keep your cowhide rug looking its best for many years.

Beyond regular cleaning, there are other care tips, like keeping them away from direct sunlight and avoiding washing machine use, that can significantly extend the life of your cowhide rugs.

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